Improving The L3Harrris Flight Simulator Experience

LION+MASON was asked to re-think and re-design their flight simulators’ touch-screen control interface to make life easier for flight instructors, removing pain-points and freeing them up to do what they do best: Teach people to fly planes.

A poor UI/UX was holding back their Simulator experience

L3Harris design and build flight simulators for the global aviation industry. Combining cutting-edge technology and modern design, they provide an invaluable training service for commercial airlines and flight training centers around the world.

But a clunky training interface in the simulators was getting in the way, causing flight instructors unnecessary frustration and time.

Discovery & Research

To understand the specialist subject matter, we immersed ourselves in the world of aviation, and spent two weeks on site conducting in-field research:

  • Observed 20+ hours of in-SIM flight training
  • Reviewed & evaluated the existing user interface
  • Identified key users, tasks and priorities
  • Conducted user interviews, workshops and ethnographic observation
  • Created personas and user stories

Mapping a new training User flow

We began by defining the foundations of an intuitive new user flows and journeys, addressing the most important tasks as well as being emphatic to the physical challenges presented by the cabin environment.

  • Information architecture based on user needs and behaviour
  • Identified key tasks and scenarios to address
  • Simplified user journeys with fewer steps and less jargon
  • Designed a new navigation system designed around the user not the technology

Creating an interactive product prototype

We created a UI design layer that reflected L3Harris’s brand values and complemented our UX design recommendations:

  • Built a simple but versatile component library of buttons, tables, switches, and dials that control all features and functionaity
  • Employed a flat design aesthetic prioritising visual clarity and ease of use
  • Created a dark colour palette optimised for low light environments
  • Prioritised a clean look and feel for maximum readability and comprehension
  • Liaised closely with the technical team to ensure validity

Testing the concept

We implemented a flexible testing strategy – ensuring feedback from a variety of users in different locations was captured in a consistent format.

  • Inclusive survey design and tone of voice to maximise comprehension and completion rates across EU regions
  • Quantitative and qualitative feedback with follow up interviews
  • Remote testing strategy sympathetic to user’s environment and device preferences
  • Comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data analysis

“LION+MASON delivered a well-considered product within a very ambitious timescale. They really opened our eyes as to what is valuable to our end-users, and the feedback has been very positive… We’re looking forward to seeing what future iterations will bring.”